Kelly E. Wright

I am an Experimental Sociolinguist pursuing a doctorate at the University of Michigan. My work combines theory and methodology from Sociolinguistics, Neuroscience, Phonetics, Corpus Linguistics, and Machine Learning.


I approach the project of disabling institutional racism by gathering data across a number of domains; I fight with fact, ever-confident in the overwhelming power of empirical validity. I apply mixed methodologies, including:

machine learning 

network analysis 

massive text and metadata corpora mining

from the historical print record (state, news, media, fiction, and online commentary and conversation)

in real time and over time

perceptualcognitive, and psycholinguistic experimentation inside the laboratory,


ethnographic and sociolinguistic fieldwork and experimentation out in the world.  


Currently, I am studying Dialect Discrimination in the housing market, looking specifically at how perceived racial and regional identities shape access and opportunity for minority speakers.


Previously, my research has examined Language Planning and Policy; Reification of racist ideology through popular print media; and Sociosemantic Field development and change over time.

I serve on two steering committees:

NARNiHS (The North American Research Network in Historical Sociolinguistics), which works to increase the visibility of Historical Sociolinguistics as a discipline and the connectedness of researchers in North America. We work alongside HiSoN (The Historical Sociolinguistics Network; our European predecessor) and the LSA (The Linguistics Society of America).

UMLanguage Matters (The University of Michigan Linguistic Diversity Initiative), an interdisciplinary initiative working to increase recognition of the role of linguistics diversity plays on our campus by creating linguistically inclusive classrooms. We work to build general knowledge of language variation and change, and provide new frames for understanding our everyday experiences as speakers, signers, and writers.  

The University of Michigan

Department of Linguistics

440 Lorch Hall 

611 Tappan Street 

Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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